Things are all quiet between the Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen according to Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now, who tweets that there has been “little to no talk” over the last week. There was a prevailing thought in the hockey world that once Mitch Marner signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs there would be some kind of movement with the other restricted free agents, but that’s not necessarily the case in Colorado. Rantanen compares pretty well to Marner after scoring 171 points over the last two seasons, but it is hard to imagine Avalanche GM Joe Sakic was happy when he saw the six-year, $65MM deal come across the wire from Toronto.
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado’s best player, is making averaging just $6.3MM over the final four years of his contract, making it tough to see the Avalanche hand out nearly twice that amount to Rantanen even with his strong performances to date. The 22-year old Finn will almost certainly become the team’s highest-paid player however if he signs any long-term deal, just how high the Avalanche are willing to go is unclear. Colorado has plenty of cap space for this season, but has to worry about potential extensions for Gabriel Landeskog, Philipp Grubauer and Cale Makar in two years.
- They won’t have to worry about Justus Annunen for a while however, as the goaltending prospect has signed a two-year extension in Finland that keeps him under contract through 2021-22. While that doesn’t necessarily guarantee Annunen won’t be coming to North America during that time—the NHL does have a transfer agreement with Liiga—it certainly makes remaining overseas a strong possibility. The 19-year old was selected in the third round in 2018 and would see his draft rights expire on June 1, 2022. Annunen was brilliant in his first game for Karpat this season, stopping 23 of 25 shots for a win against HPK.
- Nikita Zadorov escaped major injury when he left the ice early yesterday and head coach Jared Bednar told reporters including Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic that it is just a lower-body “tweak.” Zadorov is considered day-to-day. It is a big season for Zadorov as he approaches restricted free agency next summer, needing to prove that he can be a top-four option for this team over the long haul.